Holy Land 2004
World of the Bible is a …
LAND THAT GOD MADE
TIME GOD PLANNED
CULTURE GOD SHAPED
LANGUAGE GOD SPOKE
GEOGRAPHY GOD USED
PLACE GOD DWELLS
- Psalm 9:11 Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people.
- Psalm 48:2 Beautiful in elevation, The joy of the whole earth, Is Mount Zion on the sides of the north, The city of the great King.
- Psalm 135:21 Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord!
- Psalm 50:2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.
BOOK GOD WROTE
2 Samuel 22:34 He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.
Isaiah 58:14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
Amos 4:13 For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth— The Lord God of hosts is His name.
Ayalon: Joshua 10:12-14 Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” 13 So the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. 14 And there has been no day like that, before it or after it, that the Lord heeded the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel.
Beersheba: Genesis 21:33 Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there called on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God.
- Houses were usually constructed of burned mud brick, whitewashed or plastered on the outside; many were two stories high. The archaeological data give the impression that Abraham’s Ur was a sophisticated, well-designed, wealthy city, one that provided the best available comforts. It is in this light that the nature and implications of Abraham’s call to a land about which he knew nothing must be evaluated;
- Charles R. Erdman correctly notes: “Yet the life of faith does not consist of one act of obedience in a single journey to some distant scene. It is an experience continually related to the unseen and the eternal. Its symbol is a tent, its secret is an altar. So it was with Abraham.” (The Book of Genesis, p. 52.);
- 173 From here he journeyed to Bethel, twenty miles farther south, pitched his tent on a hilltop between Bethel and Ai, again built an altar to the Lord, and called upon His name (v.8). the nature of Abraham’s existence in the land is very nicely reflected in the two verbs pitched and built. He pitched a tent, a temporary structure, for his own comfort; he built an altar, a permanent structure, for worshiping God. Abraham left behind him in Canaan no sign of his wealth or prestige, only the altars he had constructed to worship his God.
altar to the Lord. By this act, Abram made an open confession of his religion, established worship of the true God, and declared his faith in God’s promise. This was the first true place of worship ever erected in the Promised Land. Isaac would later build an altar also to commemorate the Lord’s appearance to him (26:24,25), and Jacob also built one in Shechem (33:18–20).
Abraham determined his present lifestyle and behavior not on the basis of where he lived, but on his destination in the City of God.
This holy communion between man and God is more evident from the time of Abraham whose track may be traced by the altars which he built. This is true also, in measure, of Isaac and Jacob.
Land of Sheep
But why does God call us His sheep? Maybe because sheep are such wonderful animals: sheep provide wool for fine and warm clothing; sheep provide mutton the most easily digested of all meat; sheep provide milk that helps with childhood diseases; sheep provide lanolin which has hundreds of useful applications; and sheep provide the soft sheepskin blankets that comfort the sick and elderly.
Or it may be, however, because sheep are the most helpless animals known in the world of zoology. They always lose their way. In the amazing aggregation of entertainment and instruction that modern man calls the circus, we have seen almost every known animal perform, but we have never seen a trained sheep. A dog or cat, all the farm animals, and everything that can be caught in traps, may be taught to perform for the amusement of man with the apparent exception of the sheep.
Perhaps the Lord God, considering the utter helplessness of the human family, just shook His head and said, “We will call them sheep.”
- Sheep are UTTERLY HELPLESS and cannot find their way without a guide….
- Sheep are among the most tender of creatures, always suffering hurt and pain.
- sheep are extremely vulnerable they can’t tell the difference between poisonous and non-poisonous plants so they are easily sickened by improper eating habits.
- Sheep are among the dirtiest animals associated with man. The natural tendency of wool in its raw and wild state is to pick up any defilement with which it comes into contact.
- sheep are often mindless they will all begin to follow one restless lamb even if it is away from the flock and shepherd. When one aged ewe sinks in tiredness to rest and chew often they all sink to the ground and follow suit for no reason than that they are followers of almost anything.
- Of all the creatures in the world, the sheep has the greatest need of cleansing. So God looked at pitiable humanity, foul and unclean, bearing the marks of their passage through centuries of sin, and said, “We will call them sheep.”
- Sheep are one of the few animals totally incapable of self-cleansing. The dirtier a sheep gets, the more helpless it becomes. In this respect it seems to be below the hog. Many times we have seen a pig rubbing its person against the lower railing of the fence, scratching off the caked mud – but a sheep, never. So God looked at poor faulty humanity and said, “If We don’t clean them, they’ll never be cleansed. We will call them Our sheep.”
And so it was in Palestine. The connection of water with life was deeply imbedded in the collective consciousness of the Jewish race. All Jews remembered the need for water. The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been forced to move their flocks to find it. Hezekiah had had to come up with a tremendous engineering feat, a tunnel, to provide water in order to withstand a siege of Jerusalem. Water always brought to the Jewish mind their own struggle for survival.
David in his psalms uses the image of thirst to represent a total, rather than half-hearted, following after something.
- In Psalm 42 he cries out, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God” (Ps. 42:1, 2).
- In Psalm 63 he declares, “O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee; my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Ps. 63:1).
- And, of course, we cannot forget Psalm 23, two verses of which involve thirsting and understanding what it means to have water in abundance: “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters … . My cup runneth over” (Ps. 23:2, 5). The Lord provides ample waters fit for His sheep to drink.
John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
Numbers 21:4-9 Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” 6 So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.
John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.
 Drawn from Don Baker, The Way of the Shepherd, p. 2 and Harry Rimmer, Science, p. 248.